HONOLULU (KHON2) — The State of Hawaii has a new bragging right: 9-year-old Kaiulani Diamond Kekahuna, of Waianae won first place at the World of Wrestling 2021 Reno Worlds in the 65-pound weight class on Saturday, April 17.
Kaiulani — a third-grader at Kamehameha Schools Kapalama campus — competed in the 9 and under division where participants could not have turned 10 years old by Sept. 1, 2020.
The Waianae girl ascended to the top after defeating Mireya Barraza, of New Mexico in the quarterfinal, Harley Miller, of Oklahoma in the semifinal and Mylah Henebry, of Idaho in the final.
Kaiulani got to take the All American! Outstanding Wrestler Trophy home after being crowned champion with the most falls in the least amount of time. She is trained in folk style, freestyle and Roman Greco wrestling by the Golden Back wrestling club.
The world champion’s mother and father, Lynnelle and Keli’imana, could not be more proud of their daughter. Keli’imana doubles as Kaiulani’s coach and says she prepares for tournaments by wrestling the best Hawaii male competitors in her weight class.
Keli’imana says his daughter got into wrestling due to family tradition; the entire Kekahuna family has been involved in mixed martial arts at one time or another. Kaiulani has been wrestling since she was just 3 years of age.
Kaiulani, already a world champion at 9 years old, is hoping to win gold at the Olympic Games someday.